Demonstrators gathered in Portland Tuesday night as part of a nationwide series of protests of new abortion bans being adopted or considered around the country.
Over the past three months, a number of states — including Missouri, Georgia, Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky and Alabama — have passed laws restricting abortions. In one of the most recent cases in Alabama, the law bans abortions with no exceptions for rape or incest and imposes prison sentences of up to 99 years for doctors who perform the procedure.
Several women stepped forward to talk about their personal experiences at the rally in Portland.
More than 200 men and women were demonstrating Tuesday night in Maine’s largest city, opposing the recent anti-abortion laws across the U.S.
“Even in Maine it was difficult for me to get the care I needed in a timely manner,” said Tanja Hollander of Auburn. “I feel incredibly lucky to have a community and support system that did not question my decision, and that I had the resources to pay for the abortion, to travel over two hours to get it, to take time off from work. I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been if I lived in Alabama or Georgia or Missouri.”
Organizers of the rally said it’s crucial to keep abortion safe and legal across the country.
— Taylor Gleason (@TaylorGWGME) May 21, 2019
The anti-abortion organization Maine Right to Life issued a statement to CBS 13 in response to the rally, saying: “We believe social justice begins in the womb and look forward to a time when abortion is unthinkable in our nation.”
People demonstrating in Congress Square said the anti-abortion laws are against women’s rights and could result in serious health risks.
In contrast with the anti-abortion measures being passed in some other states, the Maine Legislature is looking at two bills that would protect and even expand abortion care in the state. The state House on Tuesday passed a bill that would expand the kinds of health-care providers who can perform abortions in the state to include nurse practitioners and certified nurse-midwives, among others.
Currently, only physicians are allowed to perform abortions.
Planned Parenthood officials said that while Maine is heading in the right direction, there’s a lot of work to still be done across the country.
“People are really upset, I mean, it is incredible that in a matter of couple days since Alabama passed their abortion ban, since Missouri passed their abortion ban, across the country people are standing up and organizing response,” Nicole Clegg of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England said.
“We have people out here from every generation showing that they’re not going to let anyone turn the clock back on us, that we’re here and stand strong for abortion rights,” Alison Beyea of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine said.
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